Mar. 14, 2018
Nowadays it takes roughly 11 years beginning from research and development of a novel active ingredient up to release of pesticide to market, at a cost of $286 million, which is 55 percent higher versus 10 years ago. Research and development of novel active ingredients are getting more difficult, which is well recognized among the industry beyond dispute. What's the development trends of crop protection products in the future?
Q1: One of the trends in the last few years has been watching the growth of new active ingredients become slow. How do you look at this? What do you think the main development direction of new pesticide over the next 10 years? New active ingredients or new formulations?
Agriculture Division of DowDuPont: It is important to consider that for every single crop protection product that reaches the market, the crop protection industry will screen an average of 160,000 new molecules before spending $286 million on research and development over an 11 year period. Two very dynamic factors in this business are regulatory changes and potential resistance issues. Our innovation is focused on bringing solutions that not only meet increasing regulatory standards of today, but presumptive standards at commercialization. For this reason, we believe it is important for an effective regulatory system to be transparent, predictable and science based.
New modes of action are critical to farmers and using multiple modes of action within a season or product is important to maintaining durable/dependable performance over time. Although historically resistance development was primarily an issue for insect control tactics (insecticides and traits), it is now a critical global issue for disease and weed control as well, so it drives the design of new product goals and discovery focus. New Delivery System technology (including formulations) is also critical to a robust discovery and research program.
Breakthroughs in delivery systems can drastically enhance the regulatory profile of an active ingredient by limiting off-target movement and reducing the rate through effective use of the product. In addition, new solutions can be designed through formulations (foliar, soil, or seed applied) that utilize two or three active ingredients within a single product to expand the spectrum and utility of control.
Customer needs will continue to drive our innovation process and a variety of products, both crop protection and biotechnology, will be important to help farmers increase their productivity as land and water are finite and stretched resources.
Q2: It is inevitable and necessary to explore biopesticides to replace chemical pesticides gradually in agriculture in order to meet the need of environmental protection and sustainable development. What should we do at this moment to manage the relationships of chemical pesticides and biopesticides? How do you think the combination of chemical pesticides and biopesticides?
Agriculture Division of DowDuPont: Integrated pest management is essential and encourages the use of multiple management approaches and technologies in a rational way. However, we respectfully disagree with the premise that it is “inevitable” that biopesticides will replace synthetic products. Regulatory requirements are robust and require risk assessment for all products, there is nothing inherently less or more risky with biopesticides, so all products must be assessed. For example, rotenone is a very effective naturally produced insecticide, but is extremely toxic to fish. There is, nonetheless, a very appropriate role for finding effective natural products and we have an industry-leading effort in screening natural products. This has resulted in discovery of spinosad, which is naturally produced and extremely efficacious. In addition to being used in many conventional agricultural crops, it also is the leading product for insect control in organic farming.
The majority of our activity in the biologicals space has involved natural product metabololites such as spinosad – but more importantly the research as led us to discover products that are naturally “inspired”. In other words, nature provides the basic structure and function, but falls short of providing adequate efficacy or length of control, so limited synthetic modifications are made to make the “natural” product effective for agriculture. Spinetoram is such a product and we are also developing a new fungicide for disease control in cereals, Inatreq, which is also naturally inspired. Modern techniques in synthetic biology and the convergence of biology and engineering are providing many new tools and opportunities to expand the broad category of bioproducts for agriculture. We are excited about these developments and investing in this space, but our eye always is on the performance expectations of our customers. It is all about protecting crops and enhancing yield for our customers and innovation is essential for this journey, we believe chemistry and biology will both provide solutions for our customers.
Q3: Could you reveal something about the new R&D products and the planning of the new product launches program in the next 5 years in Dow AgroSciences?
Agriculture Division of DowDuPont:
Please see the fact sheet
for the Agricultural Division of DowDuPont. We are very excited about the breadth and the depth of our pipeline and recently were recognized with an Agrow Award for the best pipeline in the industry.